Extension Specialist, Family Life Education
Cape Cod Cooperative Extension
University of Massachusetts
As a parent, you are your child's first - and most important - teacher. Here are eight ways you can help your child become a better reader.
1. Read yourself. Your actions really do speak louder than your words. When your kids see you reading the newspaper or curling up with a book, they will want to follow your example.
2. Make sure your children read every day. Reading - like shooting baskets and playing the piano - is a skill. Like other skills, it gets better with practice. Researchers have found that children who spend at least 30 minutes a day reading for fun - whether they read books, newspapers, or magazines - develop the skills to be better readers at school.
3. Get the library habit. Make sure everyone in your family has a library card. Schedule regular trips to the library. While you are there, check out a book yourself!
4. Read aloud to the children. In *The Read Aloud Handbook*, Jim Trelease reports on research showing that this is the most important thing parents can do to help their children become better readers. Here are some tips from the book:
5. Here is a way to use your newspaper to encourage reading: a scavenger hunt. Give your child a list of things to find in today's newspaper. Here are some ideas:
6. Give books as gifts. Then find a special place for
your children to keep their own library.
7. Make reading a privilege. Say, "You can stay up 15 minutes later tonight if you read in bed." Or you might say, "Because you helped with the dishes, I have time to read you an extra story."
8. If you are not a good reader, you can still encourage your children. As your children learn to read, ask them to read to you. Talk about the books your children have read. Ask a friend or relative to read aloud to your children.
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